Higgs Boson Basics

Which other major discoveries we can compare this one to?

 This discovery can be compared to ground breaking earlier discoveries such as the discovery of gravity, or relativity or quantum mechanics sitting on giant shoulders like those of Galileo, Newton and Einstein. It’s a historic moment. Trying to understand and come to grips with what we’d seen and how it fits into our understanding of the universe until today.

What is the Higgs Boson in a layperson terms?

 The presence of which “affects” all other elementary particles in such a way that they acquire mass. Can be likened to a mega star – like Amitabh Bachchan Ji suddenly appearing in a stadium filled with fans, the one closest to him will get hyper excited and acquire most mass while the ones farthest from him certainly excited but will acquire less mass, so the distance from the ‘star’ will dictate the ‘field of the star’ and ‘mass acquired’ by the fan (particle).

Do people know/talk enough about ‘Boson’ being named after SN Bose or is he forgotten?

 The name Boson says it all, it;s due to the Bose Einstein statistics that was formulated by the two great scientists

 Why was it important to ‘see’ the Higgs Boson?

To culminate and complete the “Standard Model of particle physics” which lends explanation to all observed behaviour of particles, hence physical phenomena. This was the “largest” missing link, and not discovering it would mean that all our understanding of the standard model would fall apart.

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It’s bit confusing to hear that we’ve found “a” Higgs Boson and not “the” Higgs Boson. What does that mean?

It could be a family or these Bosons that we are looking for. We don’t know where exactly in mass would that be so this is a first of a generation of a family that we have seen and observed now. It’s very interesting to open a new door to a new era in physics. The standard model and the physics beyond predict the presence of several bosons. What has been observed is a particle which is compatible with one member of that family. The properties that allow it to be observed are its consistent mass and decay modes.

It’s is difficult to say when any discovery is made as to what exactly will people be able to do with it in the years to come. Do you have an idea what you can do with this discovery?

 The impact of basic research comes later naturally. What we are trying to do here is to try to go ahead with curiosities and with the research and development we want to do in the quest of the origin of the universe. In doing so we have facilitated technology development, industrial development, computing development. For example the internet was born here in CERN and that was precisely because of the need to share data to do these kind of searches. We don’t know what will come in the decade to follow but we continue the quest

We know only 6% of universe. We know nothing about 94% of dark energy or dark matter. Will these findings lead to getting know more?

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what we understand about the universe the galaxies that are swirling around us is because of the forces that exist between them ..and when we calculate using the forces using the distances. We find that we can account only for 6% of them.. Now where is the rest of the missing mass the missing energy- the dark energy the dark matter as we call it? And in order to explain this missing mass there has to be some kind of particle, some kind of bosons perhaps- the Higgs bosons which could account for this missing mass. Now what we have evidenced today could indeed be in unlocking the door towards an understanding of this missing mass. And hence of a large part of the universe!

What is 5 sigma? What is the highest level of certainty?

Sigma is the decisive parameter of the Gaussian curve, a mathematical function that describes the distribution of data from many experiments. Citing a certain number of sigma directly translates into a probability.

1.5 sigma means just noise (background), but 3 sigma is equivalent to a 99.75 percent chance that a future experiment will yield a compatible result. So something interesting has been observed, Well, technically it’s not a 99.7% chance that the result is correct, but a 99.7% chance that if they were to run the same experiment again (with the same instruments), they would get the same result.

Physicists think that only a 5-sigma result, indicating a 99.99995 percent chance that the result can be reproduced, is trustworthy and can survive the test of time. A “5 significance” describes effects where the chance of random occurrence is smaller than a few parts in tens of millions, and is agreed to be enough to claim the discovery of a new particle or phenomenon.

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So basically – 1.5 sigma: noise (background). 3 sigma: Observation 5 sigma: Discovery

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